Japanese entertainment giant Sony on May 22 unveiled a $1.9-billion deal to buy industry titan EMI Music Publishing, which has the rights to songs by the likes of Queen and Pharrell Williams.
The deal adds a catalogue of more than two million songs, including some of the greatest hits from the 20th century, to Sony’s already huge repertoire.
The agreement is Sony’s first major deal under new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, who noted the music business has enjoyed a “resurgence” in recent years due to streaming services provided by companies such as Spotify and Apple.
With this purchase, Sony “is becoming one of the biggest music publishing companies, both in name and reality,” Yoshida told reporters.
Sony said it had signed a deal with Abu Dhabi-based investment firm Mubadala to buy its 60 percent holding, giving the Japanese firm a stake of about 90 percent.
The agreement values EMI Music Publishing at $4.75 billion, the Sony statement said, adding that “the closing of the transaction is subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.”
EMI is the second-largest music publishing company by revenue and either owns or administers some two million songs, including classics by the likes of Queen, Sam Smith and Pharrell Williams.
As for Sony, it already owns 2.3 million copyrights including the Beatles catalogue, as well as being a massive player in IT, communications, film and gaming.